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November 1, 2014

German licensing situation escalates with an extension this week


Flag of Schleswig-HolsteinRecently the furor between the German state of Schleswig-Holstein hit a new level when they disobeyed the European Commission continuing to handing out German gambling licenses as they saw fit. The European Commission could only do as much but admit temporary defeat whilst they sort out the situation internally and try to gain ground on their new gambling laws. Schleswig-Holstein in the meantime believed they were in the right and continued to review applications for German gambling licenses.

The deadline for the submission of applications for German gambling licenses was originally penciled in as the fourth of September. However, with that deadline now quite clearly passed, a new one has appeared thanks to Oslang Law firm, who have pushed it back until the 12th of September, over a week later than originally planned.

The firm states that up to twenty German sports betting licenses remain available under the Interstate Treaty on gambling, which has effectively been running since the first of July. The reason given for the extension has been cited as the aforementioned German state’s unwillingness to join its own gambling regulations and join the German federal Interstate Treaty; a decision which is believed to be occurred inside the progressive state’s new government.

Under the German federal Interstate Treaty, a total of twenty licenses can be handed out by each state to sports betting companies and owners of private sportsbooks. The issue stems from the fact that Schleswig-Holstein has already begun a process of handing out licenses to twelve sportsbooks, and there are believed to be as many as forty four additional applications currently being looked at. The concern is that once Schleswig-Holstein turns over its own gambling regulations to join the Interstate Treaty, many of these licenses it has recently handed out would be considered illegal, because only the licenses from the treaty would be valid. Hence the European Commission’s role in this, which are condemning the German state for their mixed actions involving gambling licenses.

The current situation surrounding the mystery of the licenses is very cloudy indeed. In fact it is so hazy that even some of the best German lawmakers and authorities on gambling and gambling licenses can’t quite figure out heads or tails of the situation. Just whether or not the twelve sportsbooks that have received licenses would have to reapply for one of the twenty new Interstate licenses from Schleswig-Holstein is unknown, as is the fate of the applications from a remaining twenty two sportsbooks and twenty two online casinos that are currently awaiting approval. It is messy, like most online gambling debates – although Germany has one of the largest online gambling markets in Europe and so the debate will be on everyone’s mind for the foreseeable future at least.


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